I cannot, in any way, take credit for the idea of putting delicious, homemade pies in adorable jelly jars. Oh how I wish I could, but alas, I cannot. I can, however, speak (write) of my own experience with these fabulous little cuties and include some tidbits about my inspirations for future mini pie creations.
The pie in a jar inspiration came to me while watching a Cooking Channel show about sweets…for the life of me, I cannot remember the name. It’s really here nor there, though, because as soon as I saw that a bakery in Seattle was doing these jar pies, I knew I had to try them! Being a pretty devoted canner, I had quite a few jars hanging around, so I headed to the internet for some research.
One of the first sites I found was Our Best Bites. The blog post on this site is a complete tutorial on how to select your jars, how to line them with your pie dough, and how to choose your fillings. You basically just go ahead and make whatever pie filling you like – you need 2 cups of filling for 4 pie jars. When I’ve done this, I tend to double and even triple the size of my filling recipe so that I can make lots of these. One of the best things about this method is that you can store the jar pies – baked OR unbaked- in the freezer.
You can find this amazing post here: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/09/single-serving-pie-in-a-jar/
These jars make awesome gifts and really great party treats. I took my big batch of frozen pie jars to a friend’s Halloween Party, and they were gone almost as soon as I sat the trays on the counter top. I made three types…green tomato, peach, and apple-bacon-caramel.
These pies are so easy…the short version of the directions goes like this:
- Go buy a pie crust from the store OR make your own. I’ve tried both. They both work beautifully.
- Line the jars – short jelly (4 oz.) jars – with the pie dough. You do this simply by pressing the crust into the jars a little bit at a time. I start from the bottom of the jar and build up to the top lip of the jar.
- Make your filling – a basic recipe for 4 pies — 2 c. fruit (pitted, diced, peeled), 2 T. sugar of your choice, 2 T. flour, 1 T. butter (divided between the pies), Seasonings/flavorings to taste (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, citrus zest, etc.) — OR use a recipe for a standard 9 in. pie (this will make between 4 and 6 jar pies ).
- Fill ’em up. Use my photo above as your guide. Dot each pie with butter.
- Top the jars — you can use a crumb topping OR use the jar band to cut your top crust. Cut vent holes or a cute pattern so the steam is allowed to escape while they bake. If your pie has a top crust, press the top crust dough into the dough that’s lining the side of the jars to seal.
- At this point, choose to freeze or bake. If you want to freeze, place the metal lids on the jars and screw the bands on tightly. If you want to bake. Throw the jars on a foil lined baking sheet (minus lids and bands), and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until your crust is golden brown. If you freeze, you bake a bit differently. Put frozen jars in a cold oven, THEN turn oven to 375 and bake for 50-60 minutes.
I overfilled these ones a bit, so it wouldn’t have worked to throw the lids and metal bands back on to give as gifts, but if you’re careful about it, you can definitely do that. Who wouldn’t love to receive one of these delicious little darlings as a gift?!
My imagination really went crazy when I thought this one up. It was amazing. All you have to do is go with your normal apple pie filling, cook and crumble your favorite bacon, and layer apples, bacon, and caramel syrup in the pie jars.
You could do just about any kind of pie in these…mini pot pies, quiches, any fruit pie you can imagine…it all works. It’s a great idea for small parties and gatherings. It’s also a great way to have pies on hand, in your freezer, for any time you just need a piece of pie or for those times when unexpected company shows up at your door. For me, these pies encourage me to be conscious of portion size. One jar pie is more than enough to satisfy the craving for fresh-baked pie when it hits!
I can’t help thinking that this would be a great way to do pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can make them ahead of time, make a wide variety of pies, and easily transport them to your holiday dinner destination. Your friends and family will go crazy!